notes on DRM

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DRM as in digital rights management, not direct rendering manager.

For a very long period of time, I've considered DRM to be something totally useless to the end users of a product, and nothing more than a placebo to the vendors, but today I came across a post on this topic written by a game developer, which sort of changed my opinion on this issue. So here is some invoked thoughts and a short summary of that post.

1. DRM actually works at stopping people from torrenting

People like me who are used to the ecosystem of bittorrent might underestimate the steepness of its learning curve for a newcomer, especially when compared to modern DRM-bundled platforms. In comparison, those provide a much smoother onboarding experience for people who are familiar with App Store style software distribution, where a single (or very few) vendor handles everything for a reasonable price.

2. Content on its own doesn't matter that much now

Many players now are treating content like games as a tool of socializing, which promotes services hosted by the DRM-bundled platforms (friends list, chat room) from something minor to an important part of the playing experience. In a way, they are now more important than the game itself. Of course, such services can be hosted in a non-invasive way, but as the network effect kicks in, the centralization will probably keep going for some time.

3. Owning something can be more of a liability than a right

Following the logic of the point above, if there will be a better "tool" coming out every six months, does it still make sense to own anything? With a virtually endless supply of affordable entertaining content, everything seems to be replaceable, and actually owning something starts to look like a burden.